A businessman who was instrumental in bringing a major piping championship to Moray has been named as chieftain for the event’s final fling.
Alan James helped spearhead the group, Forres Events, with other campaigners six years ago with the aim of bringing the European Pipe Band Championships to the town.
Now Piping at Forres is due to be held in Grant Park for the last time after the venue has held the hosting rights for six years.
Yesterday, Mr James, who is managing director of AJ Engineering, was appointed as chieftain at a ceremony at Benromach Distillery.
The pipe band enthusiast described it as “an honour” to follow in the footsteps of previous holders of the role, including former Runrig star Donnie Munro and Major General Seymour Munro.
He said: “I’m thrilled to have been asked. I thought long and hard about it as I’m already involved in Piping at Forres.
“However, with it being in its final year, there was no way that I could turn down the opportunity.
“We’re very lucky to have a significant number of public-spirited volunteers, including a very experienced leadership team, and I appreciate the work that they do.”
More than 20,000 people attended last year’s festival, which attracts competitors from across the continent as well as further afield.
Guests at yesterday’s ceremony also sampled tattie scones – the pipe band festival is also host to the world championship taste contest for the Scottish delicacy.
The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association initially gave Forres a three-year contract to host the competition until 2015. However, because of its success it was granted a three year extension. Last year it was announced it would be held at Grant Park for the last time after organisers opted not to bid again for it.
Eddie Tomkinson, a director of Forres Events, explained that Mr James was instrumental in bringing the extravaganza to the region – and he had stepped up to the forefront following the deaths of Ian Widdowson and David Urquhart in late 2015 and early 2016.
He said: “It’s fitting that in our last championship, Alan not only leads the team in what will hopefully be a fantastic day for all competitors and the public but he also represents Forres as our chieftain.”
Piping at Forres will be held on June 30.